My blog is mostly about wildlife, particularly birds, walking, days out, all growing things and anything else that comes to mind.
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Monday, 8 April 2019

Leonardslee Gardens & Lakes .. reopens having closed in 2010

Aproximately, 9 years ago, the privately owned house, gardens and estate was sold by the, then, owner and the new incombent, did not open the estate & gardens etc to the public.  I was there in June 2010 with my daughter Sharon when it finally closed it's doors... a sad loss for the very many visitors who had enjoyed being there.

In July 2017, the estate was purchased by the South African based entrepreneur,  Penny Streeter, OBE

Penny had a mission

“We will restore the gardens to their former glory and create new facilities on site, including tea rooms and dining facilities, as a major local attraction for families, wedding groups and others. It complements our golf and entertainment facilities at Mannings Heath, where we are developing a wine destination, bringing in our wines from South Africa and cultivating on site a new 35 acre vineyard for English sparkling wine,“ says Penny Streeter.

Leonardslee features a 19th-century Italianate style house, listed Grade II for architectural merit. The gardens are listed Grade I on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens. They cover 200 acres of a steep sandstone valley, in which there are a series of seven man-made ponds. The site includes two alpine glasshouses, in need of refurbishment. A rock garden near the house was built in 1890 by the well-known Victorian landscaping company James Pulham and Son.

Well, after several setbacks, that delayed the opening (including the discovery of some Great Crested Newts), Sharon, Josh (my grandson) and I returned to Leonardslea today, Sharon having very  kindly given me an annual pass for my 2017 Christmas present!

It was very misty as we arrived and didn't really improve during the day.. we did have the occasional glimpse of the sun.

It's just the beginning for the Rhododendrons and Azaleas to come into flower  - there were many that were however.. and the trees were coming into bud.

The light was not favourable for photography, but, hopefully, in a couple of weeks or so, the colour should be amazing, the trees more fully in leave and, hopefully, there will be some blue sky!  I shall be back fairly regularly.

So here we go, a wander around some of the grounds, it's extensive and there is a Deer Park that I never got to.. and several other areas that need to be explored.

Here we went into the Quarry

The front of the house

There have always been Wallabies at Leonardslea.  Some are in an enclosure and, I believe, some are still able to wander around some of the estate.  We saw only about 4 in the enclosure today..

A new vineyard has been planted.!

The first glimmerings of Bluebells!

There are a series of 7 ponds.. and on some were nesting Canada Geese.  Bird song was everywhere..
Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming and calling.. Robins, Blackbirds, heard Blackcap and Nuthatch, all the usual culprits, Chiff chaffs almost constantly. On the water, Mallards, Canada Geese and a long Greylag.

So after walking for  while, we headed off for something to eat, and then visited the Doll's House.  This represents the Edwardian estate and neighbouring villages.  Even if you don't normally get excited by dolls' houses, this one is really exceptional.. it covers interiors and also a large presentation of the outside areas.  This are pictures of SOME if the exhibition.. I can thoroughly recommend it if only for the amazing detail and skill of the creators!.. It's fascinating!

and the finally, time to go via the visitor centre

I know I will use my season ticket fully.  It was great to be back and so pleased it could be with my daughter Sharon and grandson Josh .. another great memory!

1 comment:

Roy Norris said...

That is an amazing place to visit Tricia.

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